The Fathers of Nicea

Today we celebrate the memory of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. It’s important for us to remember that, first and foremost, the fathers of this council were bishops, and therefore pastors. When they gathered, it was not for the sake of theological debate or academic gymnastics. It was for the sake of shepherding the faithful.

When a priest is ordained, for part of the service he’s given a portion of the Eucharist. The Bishop puts it in his hands and the bishop says to him, “Take this portion of the body of Christ and preserve it. For you will give an answer for it at the Judgment Seat”. All of those fathers that were gathered at that Ecumenical Council and the subsequent ones, and I would suggest any time any Bishop is gathered in council (our bishop’s just gathered this week, albeit electronically), that they understand the necessity to shepherd the faithful.

That’s what the First Ecumenical Council was about, and the Creed that we say in the Liturgy and elsewhere, that was a result of that council. Not to be able to say, “We are right,” not to be able to say, “We’re better than you.”

The Fathers gathered to feed the faithful on the truth of Jesus Christ, because that’s what they were responsible to do. To be able to say: Come, receive the faith handed down by Christ to his apostles and through them to all the ages. Come and know the truth that will set you free.